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Storytelling as a Framework for Higher Ed Web Marketing


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Delivered at the 2012 Penn State Web and SUNYCUAD conferences.

Published in: Education, Technology, Design

Storytelling as a Framework for Higher Ed Web Marketing

  1. 1. Georgy Cohen @radiofreegeorgy Storytelling as a Framework for Higher Ed Web Marketing
  2. 2. Ant and shark 1/3 Credit: @tsand’s daughter /
  3. 3. Ant and shark 2/3 Credit: @tsand’s daughter /
  4. 4. Ant and shark 3/3 Credit: @tsand’s daughter /
  5. 5. “ Web Communications mission is to use the Web and emerging technologies to engage our audience with the Tufts story and to enable our partners across the university to do the same.
  6. 6. “ There is no stronger bridge between you and your audience than a compelling narrative.
  7. 7. What arestories?
  8. 8.
  9. 9. National Storytelling Network“ Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.
  10. 10. (Some randomsite)“ A story is the graphing of a characters emotional experience from the moment it begins to its logical conclusion.
  11. 11. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things
  12. 12. Daniel Pink,“A Whole New Mind”“ [Story] is becoming a key way for individuals and entrepreneurs to distinguish their goods and services in a crowded marketplace.
  13. 13. Why stories matter
  14. 14. Storytelling was the first social media platform.
  15. 15. Storytelling was the first social media platform. OMG!
  16. 16.   Srsly??
  17. 17. Storytelling is an act of community, sharing values and knowledge
  18. 18. Stories draw strength from the number of people who share them.
  19. 19. The parable of Lot’s wife
  20. 20. The parable of Lot’s wife…is also found in Greek, Jewish, Indian, French Canadian,Lithuanian, Chinese, Eskimo, Polynesian, Hawaiian, SouthAmerican and African folklore. Source: Archetypes and motifs in folklore and literature: a handbook, Jane Garry, Hasan M. El-Shamy
  21. 21.
  22. 22. We see in stories.
  23. 23. We see ourselves in stories.
  24. 24. We tend to “storicize” abstract shapes and seek ourselves in the objects around us.Credit: Clara Fernández-Vara, Postdoctoral Researcher, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab
  25. 25. Heider, F., Simmel, M. (1944) An experimental study inapparent behavior. The American Journal of Psychology, 57,243-259.
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Lessons of the Like Log“ The best stories — the most inherently share-worthy stories — are the ones for which it would be almost weird to email them to someone — or tweet them to someone, or whatever — without an introductory “WOW” or “WHOA” or “WTF.”
  28. 28. Shareability index for news releases“ …Releases with the elements of a good news story—a little drama, a person fighting for what is right, a villain—have scores four to five times higher than those about the success of a program, he says.
  29. 29. ://
  30. 30. Photo / Melody Ko, Tufts
  31. 31. “ Im a sophomore at Tufts, and I just read todays profile on the woman working with the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Council. I wanted to say how proud I am to go to a school that would put an article like that on the main school site without any fuss. My friends sister visited from another university this weekend, and she mentioned how her school website featured pictures of cheerleaders at a football game, while ours had an article about Ghana, and now gay rights. This is why Im so happy to be here. Thank you =) E-mail from a sophomore, March 31, 2008
  32. 32. Dogeared page #1:Empathy
  33. 33. Structureof a story
  34. 34. The structure of a story:
  35. 35. The structure of a story: • Setting
  36. 36. The structure of a story: • Setting • Characters
  37. 37. The structure of a story: • Setting • Characters • Conflict
  38. 38. The structure of a story: • Setting • Characters • Conflict • Resolution
  39. 39. Why We Need Storytellers at the Heart of Product Development“ In a world where consumers are inundated with choices, products that want to be noticed and adopted must be rooted in the why. development
  40. 40. Kim Goodwin, Confab 2011“Storytelling by Design”Scenario: “A plausible storyabout a persona using thefuture product or service ina specific situation.”Scenarios have all the keystory elements: Character,Conflict, Plot, Resolution
  41. 41. (Tweet links to
  42. 42. story arc (n.)“ A story arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media … The purpose of a story arc is to move a character or a situation from one state to another; in other words, to effect change.
  43. 43. Sounds an awful lot like….A) Effective contentB) Good UXC) Clean usability
  44. 44. Sounds an awful lot like….A) Effective contentB) Good UXC) Clean usabilityD) All of the above
  45. 45. Sounds an awful lot like….A) Effective contentB) Good UX * Also called a holistic approach toC) Clean usability web developmentD) All of the above
  46. 46. Dogeared page #2: Holistic
  47. 47.
  48. 48. One type of story arc:The hero’s journey
  49. 49. 12 stages of the hero’s journey:1. Ordinary World2. Call to Adventure3. Refusal4. Meeting with the Mentor5. Crossing the Threshold6. Tests, Allies, Enemies7. Approach to Inmost Cave8. Ordeal9. Reward10. The Road Back11. Resurrection12. Return with Elixir
  50. 50. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things
  51. 51. Students: Faculty:• Applying to college • Curing diseases• Learning what they • Teaching tomorrow’swant to do with life leaders• Tutoring local kids • Providing context to• Staging a musical current eventsAlumni: Staff:• Donating to support • Balancing budgetsa new laboratory • Developing programs• Reconnecting with • Organizing eventsold friends • Recruiting students• Giving students advice
  52. 52. “ Is our product King Arthur or Excalibur? - Ron Ploof is-your-product-king-arthur-or-excalibur/
  53. 53. User   Us
  54. 54. User  ↖ Unicorns  Us
  55. 55. Frodo: Go back, Sam. I’m going to Mordor alone.Sam: Of course you are. And I’m coming with you. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  56. 56.
  57. 57. The Shire must truly be a great realm, Master Gamgee, where gardeners are held in high honor.  - Captain Faramir, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  58. 58. Storytelling Rules Writing Better Press Releases“ Rule 1.  Know your audience. Rule 2. Give your audience what they need to achieve their goal. Rule 3.  Help your audience tell the world about your story.
  59. 59. Dogeared page #3: User as Hero
  60. 60. Storiesand us
  61. 61. Erin Kissane, “TheElements of ContentStrategy”“ For anyone who communicates as a profession, stories are the ultimate hack.
  62. 62. Come on, Tour Guides, Tell Me a Story“ The goal is you want people to remember something when they leave your campus. It’s gonna be the stories. Laura Martin, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission, Agnes Scott College story/30047
  63. 63. Tell Them a Story“ 1) A prophet was not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house and 2) parables increased understanding. …I still have the charts and graphs, but accompanying them now are the stories.
  64. 64. Many stories have morals.
  65. 65. Many stories have morals.Our stories require purpose.
  66. 66. Many stories have morals. Our stories require purpose.(Some may call this “strategy.”)
  67. 67. Storytelling and Branding“ 1. Employees must believe and ‘own’ the story as they will ultimately be the ones to represent the companys brand values. 2. Successful advertising delivers meaningful messages about the brand, often in sequence, taking the message’s recipients on a journey.
  68. 68. Storytelling and Branding“ 3. There is a constant need to adapt a story in a fast-paced society where change is inevitable.  4. A successful brand character can adopt human qualities that allow it to engage with an audience on an emotional level.
  69. 69.
  70. 70. The Art of Immersion“ If you’re going to tell stories beyond what you see in the films, the minute they contradict each other your house falls apart. If you kill off a character and then try to revive him, it’s going to be bogus.
  71. 71. Dogeared page #4: Purpose
  72. 72. Why we matter
  73. 73. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things
  74. 74.
  75. 75. • Empathy• Holistic approach• User as hero• Purpose
  76. 76. Dr. Seuss, “The Lorax”“ Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. Its not.(h/t @epsteada)
  77. 77. Ant and shark 3/3 Credit: @tsand’s daughter /
  78. 78. J.D. Salinger, “Seymour:An Introduction” “ Give me a story that just makes me unreasonably vigilant. Keep me up till five only because all your stars are out, and for no other reason.
  79. 79. J.D. Salinger, “Seymour: An Introduction” “ Give me a story that just makes me unreasonably vigilant. Keep me up till fiveThank you. only because all your stars are out, and for@radiofreegeorgy no other reason.